Ground cherry pie

Yield: 6 Servings

Measure Ingredient
1 Pie crust (9" 2-crust)
3 tablespoons Quick-cooking tapioca
½ cup Granulated sugar
½ cup Brown sugar
¾ teaspoon Almond extract
½ teaspoon Nutmeg; grated
Dash of salt
2½ cup Ground cherries; husked
2 tablespoons Butter

"Ground cherries grow wild on low bushy plants along uncut country roadsides and in uncultivated fields. They are especially prolific in the Mississippi Valley. The fruit goes by several regional names: husk tomatoes, chew cherries, strawberry tomatoes, or winter cherries. The ground cherry plant is the first cousin to the ornamental Japanese lantern, which it resembles. The firm fruit, which is nestled in a husk, is about the size of a cherry and looks like a green tomato, though the color varies from green to yellow to red. To me, it also resembles a tiny Mexican tomatilla. Its flavor has been likened to tomatoes and strawberries, and the fruit is most commonly used in pie, though I have also eaten it in chili sauce and jam. I see ground cherries occasionally at farmer's markets around the country." Line a 9-inch pie pan with pastry and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine the tapioca, sugars, almond extract, nutmeg, and salt. Sprinkle half the mixture in the bottom of the pastry shell and top with the cherries. Sprinkle the remainder of the sugar mixture over the cherries and dot with the butter. Top with a lattice design or other decorative top crust.

Bake for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 degrees F and bake about 45 to 50 minutes longer, or until the crust is deep golden and the juices in the pie are bubbling up in the center. Cool before cutting.

Source: "Heartland: The Best of the Old and the New from Midwest Kitchens" by Marcia Adams

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